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E-mail: Viacheslav Voronovich (+353) 21 4535164 Beryl Cronin (+353) 21 4535333
For general information on CSO statistics: (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-8723
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Meat Supply Balance


 SupplyExportsDomestic uses
'000 tonnes (carcass weight equivalent)

Total supply of meat increased by 1.5% in 2015.

Meat Supply Balance 2015 Figure 1
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The total supply of meat in Ireland reached 1,309,300 tonnes in 2015, an increase of 20,000 tonnes or 1.5% in comparison to 2014.

Livestock slaughterings increased by 0.8% to reach 1,027,400 tonnes, while imports of meat amounted to 281,800 tonnes, an increase of 4.4%.

Almost 70% of the total available supply of meat or 907,600 thousand tonnes was exported, and the remaining 401,600 tonnes (30.7%) were used domestically. 

Self-sufficiency in total meat and meat products remained unchanged at 274% between 2014 and 2015, while self-sufficiency in beef and veal dropped from 705% to 678%.


Table 1 Meat Supply Balance 2013-2015
  SlaughteringsImports ofSuppliesExports ofVariationDomestic Human Gross Indigenous Self-
   meat= Usesmeatin stocks Uses  consumption productionSufficiency
Category 121+2=3+4+5345677/5
 '000 tonnes (carcass weight equivalent)kg per capita'000 tonnes%
Total meat20139312621,194804039085.01,015260
Beef and veal20135183455246508718.9551634
Pig meat2013239105345200014531.6296204
Sheep meat201357663480153.350333
Poultry meat201311711723491014331.211782
Totals may not equal the sum of the categories due to rounding differences.
Beef and veal633.8825705.4479677.5101
Pig meat204.3441202.7122224.8001
Sheep meat333.4355321.7499334.5115
Poultry meat81.743684.870784.2087
Table 2 Share of products in the total consumption of meat in Ireland
Beef and veal22.3%21.9%21.7%
Pig meat37.2%37.4%36.8%
Sheep meat3.8%3.9%3.8%

Background Notes

Supply balance

The objective of a supply balance is to reconcile the total supplies of a product with the various uses of that product taking into account changes in stock levels. Supply balance sheets are compiled on the basis of harmonised concepts agreed between the European Union countries.

The total supply of a meat in the country during a year is comprised of meat available from livestock slaughtering and imports. This may be used for export, domestic uses or stocked for future use. Only exports of meat and meat products need to be accounted for, since animals exported live do not constitute part of the supply. Imports of live animals are also not accounted for separately, since the imported animals are slaughtered in the country and then accounted for on supply side as meat. 

Supply and use must balance each other, i.e. the following equation must hold in any chosen year

Slaughtering + Imports of meat = Exports of meat + Domestic uses + Change in stocks

Balancing residual

In practice one item in each product balance is always calculated as a balancing residual from equation above, rather than taken directly from the data sources, in order to ensure that the exact balance holds.  The balancing item depends on the type of meat: for beef and veal, sheep and pig meat this is exports, while for poultry the balancing item is domestic uses.

Livestock slaughtering

The figures for livestock slaughtering include those carried out at both meat establishments approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and slaughterhouses and meat plants approved by Local Authorities under S.I. 432 of 2009.  Poultry slaughterings are derived from data received from the DAFM.

External trade

The figures for imports and exports of meat and meat products are derived from CSO’s external trade statistics.  The raw tonnage of meat and meat products traded is converted to carcass weight equivalent using a set of conversion factors agreed with European and national industry experts.

Variation in stocks

Variation in stocks is the net difference between movement of product into stocks and out of stocks in the course of the year. The variation in stocks of meat and meat products is usually very small compared to other items of the balance and is assumed to be negligible in this release.

Domestic uses  

Estimates for domestic uses of beef and veal, sheep and pig meat are provided by Bord Bia. These include mainly human consumption both in households (retail) and services establishments, such as restaurants and bars.  It is assumed that the amount of meat used for other purposes, such as animal feed, and losses are negligible. 

Human consumption  

The estimates of per capita human consumption are derived by dividing the total domestic uses by the population estimate produced by the CSO.  No account is taken of meat consumed while on overseas and cross-border travel trips.

Gross indigenous production

Gross indigenous production (GIP) is calculated as livestock slaughtering plus exports of live animals less imports of live animals, with all three items converted to carcass equivalent.

                                                          GIP = Livestock slaughtering + Live exports – Live imports

 Average carcass weights used for conversion are provided by the DAFM (finished animals) and industry experts (calves and young cattle). The numbers of live animals traded in and out of the country are provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.


Self-sufficiency is defined as gross indigenous production expressed as a percentage of domestic uses. Self-sufficiency in excess of 100% for any of the products means that the country is a net exporter of the given product.

Carcass weight

All figures in the release are shown in carcass weight equivalent.  

For cattle, the carcass weight is defined as the slaughtered animal’s cold body weight after being skinned, bled and eviscerated and after removal of external genitalia, the limbs at the carpus and tarsus, head, tail, kidneys and kidney fats and the udder.

For sheep, the carcass weight is defined as the slaughtered animal’s cold body weight after being skinned, bled and eviscerated and after removal of the head, feet, tail and genital organs including the udder.  Kidneys and kidney fats are included in the carcass.

For pigs, the carcass weight is defined as the slaughtered animal’s cold body weight either whole or divided in half along the mid-line, after being bled and eviscerated and after the removal of the tongue, bristles, hooves, genitalia, flare fat, kidneys and diaphragm.

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